It is not yet widely recognized, but to dramatists all over the world, the Theatre Olympics, which kicked off on Sept. 24, is one of the most exciting and anticipated celebrations. Seoul is honored to be hosting the global festival this time around, making it the fifth country to host the Theatre Olympics, after Greece, Japan, Russia and Turkey, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said.
Forty-eight theatrical works from thirteen Theatre Olympics member countries, including Korea, are showing until Nov. 7 under the theme “Sarang: Love and Humanity.” Organizers say that some of the performances could be challenging to the general public, but they stress that a handful of good plays can be enjoyed –– and at affordable rates.
hat to see at the 2010 Seoul Theatre Olympics
The 2010 Seoul Theatre Olympics, representing thirteen countries features six works by international Drama Olympics committee members, seven invited works from abroad, four invited works from Korea, nine selected public plays, and two freelance works. With the cooperation of D.FESTA, a festival of small theaters in the Daehakno area, Seoul’s Mecca of the arts and drama, organizers say the number of featured works totals 48.
The dramatic works worthy of attention are Thomas Ostermeier’s “Hamlet,” “Silent Party” from Iran, and “Lust, Caution” from China.
Others to take notice are “When Our Dead Awake,” an award-winning work from the Edinburgh Festival, Giorgio B. Corsetti’s “A Letter to Young Actors,” and “The Story of Ronald, McDonald’s Clown.” Korean theatrical works worth viewing are “Dummy Bride” by Lee Yoon-taek, “Waiting for Godot,” and the joint Japan-Korea work “Dressing Room + Chun-Pung’s Wife,” and “Macbeth Below the Equator,” a Korean reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s play.
New and experimental theatrical performances may also be worth exploring. Some of these include “A Skylight,” esteemed for the impassioned performance of Baek Sung-hee and Kwon Sung-deok; the performance of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Russian dramatist’s birth; “Bleak,” a joint French project; and “The Housemaid,” one of the most popular Korean films launched in 2009.
Some of the freelance work worth viewing includes “Shoot My Heart” by Kim Kwang-bo, and “Playing in Between A Bit of Fun,” which represents Korean traditional culture sublimated into a play by Yang Hye-sook.
Finding a bargain
Tickets for the 2010 Seoul Theatre Olympics can be reserved through Interpark (1544-1555) and Sarang Ticket (02-762-4242). Prices differ by the play and seat, but it generally costs 30,000 won to view foreign performances and 20,000 won for Korean works.
If one considers that these plays are the work of world-renowned dramatists, the prices are fairly reasonable.
You may want to consider purchasing the “Fall Love Card”. This card, which can be purchased through Interpark, is a joint membership card for the medley of performances on show at the World National Theater Festival, Seoul International Performance and Arts Festival, and D.FESTA. This membership card gives subscribers the privilege of receiving up to a 30-percent discount.
Packages provided by the Seoul Theatre Olympics offer the chance to attend a few more good performances. There are three packages available. The first is a package of the world’s leading dramatic works, such as “Dionysus,” “Letters to Young Actors,” “The Story of Ronald, McDonald’s Clown,” “AJAX,” and “When the Dead Awake.” This package entitles subscribers to receive a 40 percent discount on tickets.
The second package features a 33-percent discount on works based on the classics like “Faust,” “Silent Party,” and “Macbeth.” The “Silent Party,” created with the motifs found in Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor,” is worth seeing, as it has received outstanding reviews as one of the best multimedia theatrical works by the International Theatre Critics Association.
Another alternative is the “new productions” package. Those interested in the ultra-modern can enjoy up to three new theatrical performances for a 33-percent discount to a total of 60,000 won. Some of these works include “Orpheus in the Metro,” a combined creation of a Latin-American and a Greek piece, and the “2010 Red Rose, White Rose” of Chinese origin, and “Amarillo,” an exploration of the virtual world.